Category Archives: Baked Beans

New Wilco :: “Jolly Banker” (Woody Guthrie Cover)

wilco2For fans all across the land, all is right in the “Wide World of Wilco”.  The recent news that the band’s upcoming release Wilco (The Album) was exciting enough.  I, for one, particularly enjoyed the eponymous nod to themselves, and the fans, with their Stephen Colbert-debuted “Wilco (The Song)” — how cute.  Now, throw in the little nugget that the “The Album” will feature Feist on the track “You and I” and this album is due for lots of worthy hype when it drops on June 30th.  I’ll hype it indeed.

So, shortly before its release, Wilco have thrown another log onto the fire with a cover of the Woody Guthrie classic “Jolly Banker”.  It’s no surprise at this point that Wilco are heavily influenced by Guthrie, having dropped two albums at the beginning of the decade with British folkster Billy Bragg of reworkings of unfinished Guthrie tunes.

While those two pieces were in large part thankful to the Woody Guthrie Foundation giving Wilco and Bragg the license to put music to Guthrie words, the now topical, well-timed release of the Depression Era “Jolly Banker” is a chance for Wilco and fans to give back to the Foundation.  It’s a gentle folk-rollicker featuring Ms. Feist banging away on a drum, so reminiscent of those past Mermaid Avenue albums, but still very much in the new Wilco format a la Nels Cline’s gorgeous guitar work.  Get the track for free, or with a well-deserved donation to the Woody Guthrie Foundation, at Wilco World.

Condo Fucks :: Fuckbook

condo-fucks-fuckbookDoes anybody still listen to Paul McCartney?  Perhaps you do, and have followed his every move up to the counter of your local Starbucks; or maybe your knowledge of Sir Paul exists only until the end of the Beatles.  Either way, McCartney had an amazing run through the 1970’s, dropping the incredible Los Angeles-tipped Ram with his wife Linda, continually hitting the top of the charts with Wings, and continuing to wistfully delve into and out of rock legend under his own name.  But before he released Ram and joined up with Wings, McCartney decided to record an entirely instrumental version of Ram, oddly called Thrillington, and released under the name Percy “Thrills” Thrillington.  Why?  Who knows, the album didn’t come out officially until 1977, with no mention of McCartney’s involvement anywhere to be found–in the liner notes, packaging, nothing.  In fact, it wasn’t until 1989 that McCartney even came forward that, in fact, the album was his.  Just another footnote in rock-n-roll history.  But this post isn’t about Paul McCartney, or Percy Thrillington for that matter.

No, this is about the Condo Fucks.  Who are the Condo Fucks, you might ask?  Well, they’ve only released 16 albums since 1984, and have been one of the most consistent bands on the indie circuit since their creation.  Still nothing?  Well, I guess the gig is up.  Indie rock stalwarts Yo La Tengo decided to throw together some new recording equipment and smash together an album of covers by some of the finest garage bands in music history: electric eels, the Beach Boys, and Young Rascals.  Their label, Matador, decided to have a little fun with its release and created an elaborate backstory to the rise and fall of the Condo Fucks legend.  In their notes, they claimed that the band got together and recorded it in a pacy 45 minutes in an abandoned warehouse in Hartford, Connecticut.  About a month ago, when I received the initial two singles from the album, “What’cha Gonna Do About It” and “Gudbuy T’ Jane”, I was instantly hooked.  I finally picked up the album last weekend, and I’m still hooked.  Thirty-one minutes of simple lo-fi, guitar-driven glory.  Roped in by the Condo Fucks.

Some might scoff at the idea of a band putting out an entire album of covers, but this is nothing new to Yo La Tengo.  In fact, the legendary Fakebook remains to this day one of Yo La Tengo’s finest efforts.  It contains only five original YLT songs, the others consisting of mostly folk and country tune-ups.  What is your thought on covers?  Some laugh at the idea, and consider it a lazy effort to put out more albums, while other view it as dishonest and occasionally disrespectful to predecessors.  I, for one, believe that covers can shed new light on bands that are “difference-makers” in our current scene.  What drives them or inspires them?  A masterfully crafted work of covers, or simply paying homage to influences in your shows, can often go a long way towards helping the fans understand more about music history.  And in an age where we have blogs, message boards, fan clubs, etc. devoted to the every tidbit of our favorite artists, isn’t it beautiful to be surprised, or tricked?  Like Sir Paul McCartney, Yo La Tengo has crafted their legend on not attempting to follow a normal “track” for the typical artist–they simply put out great music (lots of it), and desire to take the listener on a new ride. 

Fellow Condo Fucks-appreciators Aquarium Drunkard have done an extensive interview with Yo La Tengo’s James McNew about Fuckbook, and what drove them to release such an oddly-timed record.  For the music nerds, take the red pill and dive in headfirst here.

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band :: Outer South

large_conor-oberst-and-the-mystic-valley-band1Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band return to the States (well, just barely) to record the follow-up to the former Bright Eyes lead man’s self-titled 2008 release Conor Oberst.  The new album, Outer South, was recorded in pretty much the most outer-south you can get (wordplay!), among the cacti and shrub of El Paso, Texas.  The new sounds drop on May 5th, but right now you can stream them in full length at NPR.org.

Cool jackets, Mr. Oberst. That press photo is so Reservoir Dogs meets We Are Marshall…

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the one and only Patsy Cline…”

patsycline-724191I have a really bad habit of diving into certain genres of music for an extended amount of time.  For weeks on end I’ll live in the shoegaze era, floating from My Bloody Valentine to Ride, and then the next month will be bluegrass and folk.  I’ll be the first to say that I probably miss a lot in the process, but I simply can’t help it–the foundations of the music I’ve grown to love over the years are built on the albums and bands that I continually return to.

One artist that is with me from month to month, though, is the everlasting Patsy Cline.  No matter where I am in my collections, I’ll put her on, if only for a few songs or a few albums.  She was only on the airwaves for a very short amount of time, but her voice is one that will reverberate through music history for ages to come.  Cline paved the way for not only country music’s fusion with the pop and jazz movements of the day, but for women artists in general.  She abhorred the way women had been treated while touring across the United States, and always made her strong personality known.  Johnny Cash revered her and introduced her on stage with the classic Cash distinction, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the one and only Patsy Cline.”

Perhaps my favorite aspect of Patsy Cline’s career was her striking ability to make even the most subtle songs truly unforgettable.  The two songs that I’ve decided to include here both fit that description; one you’ve probably heard, the other you probably haven’t.  When she was once asked about how she could elicit such emotion on her recordings, she simply responded, “Oh, I just sing like I hurt inside.”  Unforgettable.

Patsy Cline – Three Cigarettes (In An Ashtray)

*Second Mp3 on the way shortly…

New Sonic Youth :: Sacred Trickster

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Oh…hell…yes.  So Sonic Youth is back in 2009, and I’m not sure whether its my need for something new/old, or my always urgent need to unleash the punk beast inside, but the first single from their 16th(!) release The Eternal has got my blood boiling.  “Sacred Trickster” clocks in at a whopping 2:10, but Sonic Youth has always been a band that can take the smallest of spaces and cram in an orchestra of noise.  Now, many will say that they yearn for something in the vein of SY classics Sister and Daydream Nation, complete with grand, sweeping avant blasts of No Wave, but frankly, this isn’t it.  In fact, if anything, this first single suggests that they’ve managed to write songs with hooks hookier than Goo, and depth depthier(?) than Dirty.  Though considering that Thurston Moore claimed to take lots of inspiration from black metal, the rest of the album is anyone’s guess.  I mean, Sonic Youth could noise jam the phonebook and I’d still be interested, and of course, bloggers everywhere would lose their shit.

The ever-eternal Sonic Youth release The Eternal on June 6th on Matador.

Sonic Youth – Sacred Trickster

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Sonic Youth’s Website

Back from Hibernation, Hibernapping…

pentagramYou might have thought that Baked Beans was gone, alas, it is not.  In fact, it is a risen zombie, and is now the second worst music blog on the entire intertron, set out to devour all previous thoughts on what a good publication should/would look like.  In light of that, I don’t think there could be any better way to reanimate than with a post about the new(ish) metal band Werewolph, and the adjoining picture on the left.  They’re incredible and will cause you to evaluate everything you thought you knew about death metal, which for some of you, is probably very little outside of your dying passions for Motorhead (ACE OF SPADES!!!).

But, if you thought that was all this post had to offer, you’re quite wrong.  Consider this your slightly-less-funny-than-actual-April-Fools-Day-jokes post-April Fools day joke.  Sorry.  This is just Ryan Adams goofin’ around, though it’s actually not too bad, if you’re into rippers about fighting the undead at the Gap, “human Chick-fil-A’s”, and evil witches.  Because in this economy, aren’t we all?  Enjoy the fury here: werewolph.com.

SXSW Bands to Watch, Part 1

sxsw1

So we’re officially a month from a little Austin shindig that you might have heard of before: SXSW. I’m pretty geeked because besides being a shit-ton of bands coming through this year (obviously), there are a lot of great bands at that. And some big, big names to boot. As we get closer to the kickoff (March 18th), I’ll post some bands that I’m particularly going to try to catch.

Fanfarlo

fanfarlo1I think that there is some legitimate trepidation these days when a band is compared to Arcade Fire — there seem to be plenty of unworthy comparisons thrown around these days to bands without the gutsy panache Arcade Fire had when Funeral released.  London’s Fanfarlo, however, will draw immediate comparisons to both Funeral-era Arcade Fire and Beirut, but they exist outside of that widely-thrown blanket.  They blaze with the anthemic capacity of the Canadian folksters and the pop-sensibilities of Snow Patrol, though their tunes still seem fresh, unheard-of.  They’ll be releasing a brand new album, Reservoir, on a short tour with (who else) Snow Patrol around the UK before setting their sights on Austin in March.  Reservoir should be a huge hit for these guys, and I’ll be sure to give a review right here.

Fanfarlo – I’m A Pilot
Fanfarlo – Luna

Grizzly Bear

grizzly-bear-veckatimestI think at this point it would basically be redundant for me to express how excited I am to see Grizzly Bear coming through Austin.  In part because it’s pretty neat to see that a band that’s as widely-known as they are at this point is still coming to SXSW, but also because 2009 is set to be “Year of the Grizzly Bear” all over again.  Exciting times!  The Brooklyn guys recently announced the May 26th release of a new album, Veckatimest, and yours truly could not be more excited.

Grizzly Bear – While You Wait For The Others (Live On KCRW)